Uncovering Forgotten Digital Assets: A Tale of Ethereum’s Hard Fork

Uncovering Forgotten Digital Assets: A Tale of Ethereum’s Hard Fork

Conor Grogan, the head of product at Coinbase, recently made an intriguing revelation. He found $322,000 worth of digital assets belonging to an individual who had no knowledge of their existence. These funds were transferred after Ethereum’s hard fork event in 2016. Grogan took to Twitter to announce his discovery, revealing that he has been tracking down forgotten funds for individuals who either overlooked their onchain assets or were unaware of tokens awarded to them through airdrops. This revelation sheds light on the fact that many people may be sitting on substantial sums without even realizing it.

Ethereum’s Hard Fork and Unawareness

In 2016, Ethereum underwent a hard fork, resulting in the formation of Ethereum Classic (ETC) and Ethereum (ETH). During this event, individuals holding a balance received a 1:1 credit of ETC. Grogan explains that many people are unaware that they were included in the snapshot taken during the fork. This lack of awareness could be attributed to why individuals have forgotten about or never knew of their crypto assets.

One such example is Twitter user Griff Green, who had 23 ETH but was completely unaware of it. Over the years, the value of the stash has appreciated significantly, currently amounting to almost $45,000. This represents a staggering 7,400% increase from the initial value of $600.

A Fortuitous Discovery

Grogan’s most significant discovery was an account containing over $320,000 worth of ETC. Locating the owner of this account was no easy task. However, he stumbled upon a unique coin called EOSDAC that had been airdropped on Ethereum to EOS holders in 2018. This connection led him to the fortunate individual who was previously unaware of their substantial assets.

Interestingly, fate has not been kind to this individual. In 2019, they fell victim to a hacker, resulting in the loss of their entire life savings. Additionally, they were involved in a legal battle with the cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex. Grogan shared a screenshot of his conversation with the person, highlighting their complete ignorance of the existence of these assets.

The Origins of Ethereum Classic

Ethereum Classic is an open-source and decentralized cryptocurrency platform that enables the execution of smart contracts. While it may not be as popular as Ethereum, some consider it the original version of the blockchain protocol. Its inception can be traced back to the infamous “The DAO hack” in 2016.

The DAO, a decentralized venture fund utilized by Ethereum investors, accumulated over 11 million ETH. However, hackers exploited vulnerabilities and managed to siphon off approximately one-third of these assets. While most DAO members wanted to restore the stolen funds to investors, not everyone agreed. This difference in opinion led to the split between Ethereum Classic (which follows the principle of “Code is Law”) and Ethereum.

Currently, Ethereum Classic’s native token, ETC, is valued at around $20, with a market capitalization of less than $3 billion according to CoinGecko data. Despite its lower popularity compared to Ethereum, ETC has been gaining momentum recently.

Conor Grogan’s discovery of forgotten digital assets highlights the perplexity surrounding Ethereum’s hard fork event in 2016. Many individuals may be unknowingly holding significant sums of money. With the continuous evolution of the cryptocurrency space, it is crucial for users to stay informed about their assets to avoid missing out on potential gains or falling victim to hackers.


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